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.   TRAGIC    ELEMENT    IN    MODERN    CONFLICT

question of the redistribution of territorial power—
which war decides. We cannot actually spread de-
mocracy by war, which barbarises peoples and tends
rather to make democracy more impracticable over a
greater area of the European continent.

The supporters of the new diplomacy, which has
emerged since the opening of the epoch of world-wars,
like to tell us that the whole problem we have been
dismissing does not exist, because it ought not to exist.
In any case, there is no Chinese puzzle at all, they say,
for^whatever the issue might be, we could easily dispose
of it by referring it to a conference or sending it to the
United Nations. Against these specialists in wishful
thinking it must be asserted that the kind of human
predicament which we have been discussing is not
merely so far without a solution, but the whole condition
is a standing feature of mankind in world-history. If
the whole of Russia and the entire body of its satellites
were to be buried under the deepest oceans from this
very night, the predicament would still be with us
to-morrow, though the terms of it would be transposed
by a regrouping of the remaining Powers. Supposing
there were no Russian Power in existence, supposing
Germany herself were lying prostrate as a beaten and
ineffective nation, and supposing the help of America
were not essential to everybody concerned—all that fine
show of unanimity between the countries of Western
Europe, all that co-operation induced by the threat of an
immediate danger, would break down into bitterness
and anarchy. And if the issue which divides the world
at a given moment were referred to a conference table,